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HISTORY BOYS, THE: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
A bunch of public schoolboys in Northern England are poised to be tested for entrance to Oxford or Cambridge, an unprecedented situation. They've been taught history by Mrs Lintott (Frances de le Tour) and literature by the maverick Hector (Richard Griffiths), but to ensure success, the headmaster (Clive Merrison) hires recent graduate and spinmaster Irwin (Stephen Campbell Moore) to coach the boys in exam technique. The clash of their teaching styles, their barely suppressed sexual attraction to the boys and the raging hormones of the teenagers themselves - not to mention academic pressures - combine to create a volatile few weeks of learning about learning and learning about life. All the boys are caught up in the explosive atmosphere, especially the effeminate Scripps (Jamie Parker), the handsome self-styled superstud Dakin (Dominic Cooper) and Timms (James Corden).

Review by Louise Keller:
The love of words and language are the central themes of The History Boys, but what is even more important is the enthusiasm and passion that is imbued in eight students as they are groomed for acceptance at the best universities. Director Nicholas Hytner brings the original London cast of the smash-hit play by Alan Bennett to the screen in a hugely enjoyable outing of subtle humour, witty words and a keen insight into human nature and the art of learning. Two teachers with opposing styles are the boys' key influences, and both have a role to play. The characters are endearing and the journey that the History Boys make - both scholastically and personally - is one that we enthusiastically embrace.

Richard Griffiths won a Tony Award for Best Actor on Broadway as Hector, the unconventional, passionate teacher who instills the love of learning into his students by injecting a generous dose of silliness into his classes. Physically, Griffiths is larger than life, and the unpredictable style of his poetry-loving Hector - not to mention his habit of groping the boys' groins - is unique. Who would ever imagine the teacher of general studies encouraging his students to play-act a scenario in a French brothel, when practising the use of the conditional and subjunctive. When Stephen Campbell Moore's Irwin, who is only '5 minutes older than' the students, is recruited to impart some charm and polish, the contrast between teachers could not be greater. The students benefit from both - academically and personally. Samuel Barnett and Dominic Cooper shine as the gay, Jewish Posner and Adonis-like, ladies man Dakin, who is the object of attraction to both male and female.

'Transmission of knowledge is an erotic act,' says Hector, and we learn about everyone's sexual preferences and ambitions. Frances de la Tour is marvellous as she reprises her Tony award-winning role of the dry and droll Mrs Lintott, who counters male ineptitude. History has never seemed so fresh in this perceptive and stimulating look at learning, life and language.

DVD special features include an audio commentary with director Nicholas Hytner and writer Alan Bennett, plus two featurettes.

Published September 26. 2007

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

HISTORY BOYS, THE: DVD (M)
(UK, 2006)

CAST: Samuel Anderson, James Corden, Stephen Campbell Moore, Richard Griffiths, Frances de la Tour, Andrew Knott, Russell Tovey, Jamie Parker, Dominic Cooper, Samuel Barnett, Sacha Dhawan, Clive Merrison, Georgia Taylor

PRODUCER: Nicholas Hytner, Damian Jones, Kevin Loader

DIRECTOR: Nicholas Hytner

SCRIPT: Alan Bennett (play by Bennett)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Andrew Dunn

EDITOR: John Wilson

MUSIC: George Fenton

PRODUCTION DESIGN: John Beard

RUNNING TIME: 112 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 3, 2007

PRESENTATION: Widescreen

SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio Commentary with Director,Nicholas Hytner and Writer,Alan Bennett; Two Featurettes:History Boys Around the World:The Tour Diaries,; Pass It Along:The History Boys On Screen.

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: September 26, 2007







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